Brisbane band Good Will Remedy have released a glorious new album, Silver Lined, as the successor to their self-titled debut album. The album was recorded in Brisbane and features some luminaries of the local scene, including Danny Widdicombe. Good Will Remedy cite influences that include Tom Petty, Ryan Adams and the Black Crowes, although there is plenty of energy from illustrious Brisbane bands (such as The Go-Betweens all the way to Regurgitator) to be found in their sound.
To celebrate the album’s release, the track-by-track notes for the album can be read exclusively here – just click on the Soundcloud image to listen while you read …
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So I missed this one in January, when I meant to review it. Consequently this will be a shorter ‘album news’ piece so no more time is lost … because Greenbah is worth your time. The eight songs on this third album from Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders are packed with guitars and piano, echoing Australian pub rock from a bygone era – without sounding intentionally nostalgic – but also drawing on country and folk influences to create something compelling.
The band has quite the work ethic, releasing new music regularly, and the experience shows. The songs are tightly constructed and while there’s a lot of instruments in each one, nothing is wasteful.
This is not an album for a quiet afternoon – it’s something to keep you alert on a long drive, it’s a rowdy gathering with friends, it’s a morning pep-up. And because of that above-mentioned work ethic, you know there will be plenty more where that came from.
Greenbah is out now.
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Australian country music artists often cover American country songs, which is, of course, completely fitting: our country music can trace a certain amount of its lineage from the United States. However, while many of those Australian artists do a wonderful job with those covers, it’s hard to imagine anyone doing a better job than American-born now Australian-resident Jen Mize and Brisbane artist Mark Sholtez, who have released the album Twilight on the Trail, a collection of old American cowboy songs such as the traditional ‘Home on the Range’, ‘The Black Hills of Dakota’ (originally sung by Doris Day in Calamity Jane) and ‘Cow Cow Boogie’ (sung by artists including Dorothy Dandridge and Ella Fitzgerald).
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The Wolfe Brothers have a reputation – a good one. It involves them being a country rock band, and always putting on a great show, and being very, very entertaining. They will put the same amount of energy into three songs at the Peel Street Fanzone as a massive festival show. They’ve been Lee Kernaghan’s touring band for years, as well as playing in the support slot at his shows, so they’ve had lots of opportunities to develop their skills and they’ve taken them. Nothing at all is wrong with what they’ve been doing, so it wouldn’t make sense to change it. More than that, they’d have to be brave to change something their fans love. Yet change it they have.
Country Heart is the Tasmanian band’s fourth studio album, and when I last interviewed guitarist Brodie Rainbird he mentioned that it was going to be very different to the first three. For the first time they had asked popular producer Matt Fell to work on an album with them, and Fell’s direction was not just completely different to what they were used to but they loved it. And that enjoyment of the experience is evident all over this record.
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Ruby Boots started her musical trajectory in Perth and it has taken her all the way to Nashville, where she is now resident – although paradoxically that trajectory has also taken her somewhat away from country music and towards rock.
Her new album, Don’t Talk About It, is indeed a rock record but the structure and storytelling of country music are apparent in its ten distinct and beautifully formed songs. Also apparent is her rock lineage, but not in a way that suggests appropriation so much as interpretation. All artists have influences, and one of Boots’s talents is that she’s able to find the alchemy in those influences and create something that is wholly her.
Don’t Talk About It is out now.
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Ruby Boots will play some dates in Australia in May. For details:
South Australian singer-songwriter Juliet Oliver first became interested in country music through Miley Cyrus’s alter ego, Hannah Montana. Oliver was 11 at the time, and at that same age her parents bought her a guitar. Over time her musical influences changed to Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt and Jason Isbell. Oliver is still only 19 years old but some of those later influences can be heard on her self-titled debut EP, released earlier this month.
Oliver has Cline’s edge mixed with Parton’s warmth, and Parton and Ronstadt’s pop melodic sensibilities. The EP contains four country-pop songs that hit the right notes melodically and lyrically. The adjective that first comes to mind is ‘sweet’, and that is not at all a pejorative – pop songs should be sweet, and with country pop it’s often the country part that gives them a little dollop of pain or regret or wistfulness to balance it out.
Oliver has struck that balance, and this is a perfect little package that introduces a very talented newcomer.
Juliet Oliver is out now.
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[As a reminder: ‘album news’ items appear when I haven’t had time to write a full review but want to make sure the album is covered.]
Melbourne singer-songwriter Andrew Swift had what might be called a conversion to country music after the release of his first album in 2015, but he’s certainly no neophyte: he’s already been a grand finalist in the Toyota Star Maker competition.
Call Out for the Cavalry is his recently released second album, and it too reveals no sign of him being relatively new to the genre. His musical lineage covers Americana, roots, rock and a bit of blues, and there’s a lovely cover of Gretta Ziller‘s song ‘Unforgiven Sin’. Ziller appears on the album, as does Catherine Britt and Katie Brianna.
This is a diverse, lovely, entertaining mix of songs. Swift sounds completely at home in country music, his voice relaxed and confident, and his ability to create songs that assuredly embrace a range of musical and lyrical moods speaks to his skill as a songwriter. The album is a great example of the alt country scene currently burgeoning in Melbourne – and it’s also just a great album.
Call Out for the Cavalry is out now through Social Family Records.
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